At its peak, Cyberbunker clogged up a mind-boggling 300 gigabits per second of the Internet in what’s being called the biggest cyber-attack in history. But what if you could switch off 1.28 terabits—four times as much bandwidth—with nothing more high-tech than an axe?
That’s what three men tried to do in an unsophisticated but effective form of sabotage in Egypt yesterday; their identities and motives are not yet known. Reuters reports the Egyptian coastguard intercepted a fishing boat off the coast of Alexandria and arrested three men trying to cut through the SEA-ME-WE 4 undersea cable. The cable is one of the main connections between Asia and Europe, running from France to Malaysia and linking Italy, north Africa, the middle east and south Asia. The men, whose pictures the navy uploaded on Facebook, are being interrogated by Egyptian authorities.
The Internet does not live in anything resembling a cloud, as Andrew Blum memorably put it in Tubes, his book about the net’s physical infrastructure. Instead it resides in hundreds of cables snaking underground and along the bottom of the sea, where it is susceptible to ship anchors, marine life, and sabotage.